Palva Lab
group photo
Satu Palva Group — Systems- and cognitive neuroscience
Satu Palva group investigates the functional relevance of neuronal dynamics and large-scale neuronal interactions in human cognition.

In humans, attention, working memory, and consciousness are fundamental cognitive functions, which are serial, introspectively coherent, and have a limited capacity of a few objects. Neuronal processing underlying these cognitive functions is, however, distributed across the brain and over time. The central goal of our group is to understand how local neuronal oscillations, their large-scale interactions and dynamics are related to fundamental cognitive functions. Current theories posit that slow oscillations from delta (1-4 Hz) to alpha (8-14 Hz) bands are related to attentional, executive and control functions, while faster gamma (30+ Hz) band synchronization is related to bottom-up processing of sensory information. We aim to test this framework at the level of large-scale neuronal interactions. Our central hypothesis is that cross-frequency interactions among slow and fast oscillations allow the integration and coordination of neuronal processing across cortical hierarchy.

Both oscillations and behavior also fluctuate in a scale-free manner over several seconds to minutes. This behavior is indicative of critical neuronal dynamics that is thought to enable flexible reconfiguration of behavioral performance and neuronal processing. Our aim is to obtain evidence for this framework and test whether neuronal scaling laws behavior predict scaling laws in behavioral performance.

Many brain diseases are associated with cognitive deficits. We aim to investigate whether aberrant neuronal dynamics and connectivity predict cognitive deficits in neurodevelopmental diseases such as in ADHD and depression.

Our central approaches are to record neuronal activity from human subjects by magneto- and electroencephalography (M/EEG) and from epileptic patients with intracranial EEG (iEEG). We then use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial alternating current stimulation (TACS) to test the causal role of identified neuronal activities and interactions in coordinating behavioral performance.

Satu's group members

group member photo
Professor Satu Palva, PhD, Docent, Academy Research Fellow

E-mail: satu.palva(@), satu.palva(@), Tel: +358 50 4484 742

[TUHAT] [Google Scholar] [LinkedIn] [ORCID]

Postdoctoral researchers
Ehtasham Ehtasham Javed, PhD (at University of Helsinki) Ehtasham has a PhD in Methods, Models and Instrumentation for Neuroimaging from Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, Gabriele D'Annunzio University, Chieti-Pescara, Italy, where he developed a method to analyze the spectral associations of spatial topographies calculated using microstate analysis. He joined the group in September 2019 as a postdoctoral researcher and is studying dynamic multi-scale oscillation networks using MEG data.
[Researchgate] [Google Scholar]
Felix Felix Siebenhühner, PhD (at University of Helsinki) Felix obtained his MSc in physics at Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany. He then researched abnormal neuronal synchrony in schizophrenia with Danielle Bassett in Santa Barbara, USA, before joining our group in 2012. In his doctoral research, he investigated cross-frequency synchrony in human MEG and SEEG data and graduated in 2019. He is now part of he Virtual Brain Cloud project and analyzing resting-state data.
[TUHAT] [Google Scholar] [LinkedIn]
Gaby Gabriela Cruz, PhD (at University of Glasgow) Gaby obtained a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Glasgow (2014). She has researched neurofeedback and the functional relevance of neural variability for cognitive performance in healthy and brain injured population. She joined our group in August 2019, and is investigating how local neuronal oscillations, their large-scale interactions, and dynamics are related to visual perception and attention.
[Researchgate] [Google Scholar]
Mate Máté Gyurkovics, PhD (at University of Glasgow) Máté received his PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2019 where he investigated the behavioural and neural correlates of dynamic changes in attentional control in adolescents and adults using EEG. During his first post-doc at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he studied the neuroscience of aging and attentional control, with a focus on the time-frequency domain of EEG data. He joined the lab in November 2021, investigating neural networks observable with M/EEG during working memory operations.
[Google Scholar]

PhD students
Hamed Hamed Haque, MSc (at University of Helsinki) Hamed has a BSc in psychology from International Islamic University Malaysia and an MSc in cognitive neuroscience from the University of York. He joined as a doctoral student in 2015 and investigating the neural correlates and mechanisms of visual perception and visual working memory using EEG and MEG.
[TUHAT] [LinkedIn]
Judith Judith Sattelberger, MSc (at University of Helsinki) Judith studied Psychology at the University of Vienna, graduating with a Msc, and joined our group as a doctoral student in March 2021. She is now investigating neural correlates of visual attention and working memory with MEG and EEG.
Maria V. Maria Vesterinen, MA (at University of Helsinki) Maria graduated with a MA in Psychology from the University of Jyväskylä in 2019. She joined our group in April 2021 and is currently helping to design experiments investigating the neuronal dynamics of cognitive control.
Alex Alexandra Andersson, MSc (at University of Helsinki) Alexandra has a MSc (Tech) in Human Neuroscience and Technology from Aalto University. She joined the lab in 2021 and is currently investigating the neural correlates and mechanisms of visual working memory using EEG and MEG.

Maria M. Maria-Luiza Miclaus, MA, MSc (at University of Glasgow) Maria graduated with a MA in Psychology from the University of Aberdeen and a MSc from the University of Birmingham. She joined our group in April 2021 and is researching the neural correlates that underpin inter-areal communication associated with sensory processing and cognitive control.

Paula Paula Partanen (at University of Helsinki) Paula has a BSc in psychology from the University of Groningen and recently obtained a master's degree in neuroscience at the University of Helsinki. Paula joined the lab in 2021 and is currently investigating in vivo brain activity electrophysiology in mice.
Undergraduate students
Panu Panu Vaija (at University of Helsinki) Panu has a background in neuropsychology as well as in cognitive psychology. He is currently completing a master's programme in cognitive science at the University of Helsinki. He joined our lab in May 2022 and is now working on his master's thesis investigating the effects of depression on the reward system.

To contact use,, or